On Tuesday night, just before the Knesset was set to vote on annexation, Hamas fired 20 rockets into the Mediterranean Sea as a show of strength. Israeli media reported that IDF sources denied that any rockets had been fired. The last rocket attack from Gaza was February 23 when nearly 100 rockets were fired. 

On Friday, the Israeli army said two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel without causing any damage. No Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

This comes after a warning last week that Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria would constitute a “declaration of war.”

 

“This wretched decision and plan, we’ll not talk at length, but say it shortly and clearly – the resistance considers the decision as a declaration of war on the Palestinian people. The resistance is ready to protect its people and its holy places,” Abu Ubaida, the spokesman of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigade, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, said last week.

His statement was made in commemoration of the day IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was taken prisoner on June 25, 2006. Schalit was captured by Hamas in a cross-border raid via tunnels near the Israeli border.

At a speech in Gaza City on Tuesday, Hamas spokesman Hazim Qasim, called for a Day of Rage on Wednesday when the Knesset is slated to vote on annexing parts of Judea and Samaria.  

“Gaza will be part” of any confrontation on the ground, Qasim said, emphasizing that armed resistance “is the best way to fight the Israeli annexation and undermine attempts to partition the country.”

Qasim called for unity among all the Palestinians “not only in the Gaza Strip but also in other parts of the country,” essentially urging Arabs living inside Israel to take up arms.

If this call is taken up and escalates into armed conflict, this could mean that Israel will be facing threats this summer on both its northern and southern borders as reports from Bierut indicate that Hezbollah is planning on starting a war with Israel as well.

The Knesset vote comes as a result of a coalition deal between Netanyahu, head of the Likud Party, and his political opponent, Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White Party. As per the agreement, the government can pursue annexation of 132 Jewish cities and towns and the Jordan Valley. This represents 30 % of the West Bank allocated to Israel under the Trump administration’s plan for the Middle East, officially referred to as Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People. The plan also conditionally provides for a Palestinian state on the remaining 70% of the territory. 

Hamas may have plans to usurp the Palestinian Authority should they become the ruling government in an independent Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, as they did in Gaza in 2007, but the Trump plan does not directly involve Hamas in Judea and Samaria. It does, however, mandate disarming Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza. 

The Trump plan also calls for recognizing the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. This is directly counter to the Hamas Covenant, which rejects outright any negotiated settlement, allowing for Jihad (armed confrontation) as the only alternative with the goal of annihilating every Jew on the planet. 

The Trump plan rejects a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, proposing instead a Palestinian capital on the outskirts of the city whereas the Hamas Covenant represents the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as the sacred point where divine cosmology and temporal history meet.